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Independent Spirits Speak

Craig Zerouni looks at the state of CG and wonders if weve reached the end of significant technological breakthroughs in the medium.

Danny Antonucci, El Hombre, A.K.A. Cartoon Inc. Vancouver, BC

A.K.A opened its doors with the intent of being an artist's studio, to self-create projects and maintain the art of "classical" animation. For the last 11 years we've produced award-winning commercials and two television series. We have and will "supply" to any executive producer and network who have the balls to let us use our creative vision to produce new and exciting projects for television. So far this invitation has only come from south of the border. We work only in 2D. We would like to play in other mediums, as long as there's no software involved to dictate what we can and cannot do. We're currently in production on our 6th season of our own Ed, Edd n Eddy for Cartoon Network, and viewed in 31 million home around the world. Except for Canada.

Neil Hunter, co-coordinator & professor, Animation Program, Algonquin College, Ottawa

Algonquin College in Ottawa, Canada has been offering a successful Animation Program since 1989. In the past year the program has added a third year and a 3D digital stream that runs parallel to the traditional course of studies for the second and third years. The emphasis on the program is on acting and timing. Telling stories is what animation is all about. It's a lot to cover in three years, but our students have been very successful in finding employment after graduating, in fact around 80% of last years graduates are working in the industry.

Barry Ward, president, Bardel Entertainment Inc., Vancouver, BC

Bardel has been in operation for more than 18 years and provides complete production services from development to final post. The studio produces traditional and digital 2D (Flash) animation as well as 3D (Maya) for feature films, television series and specials, interactive games, and web based content. Our clients include DreamWorks, Disney, Warner Bros, Fox, Sony and Turner.

Brad Trofin, freelance animator, Bradleez Cartoons Calgary, Alberta

Illustration for publications and animation for the web such as e-cards and website intros. I've found that there are many different directions independent animators can take. If one door might be closing, another would open up just as fast. One example would be e-cards. More and more companies are hiring animators to create fun and unique cards to send to family and friends.

Tim Tyler, producer/director, Cheshire Smile Animation Inc., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Cheshire Smile Animation Inc. is an animation and interactive studio with business that combines classical/Flash animation service production with long-term development of broadcast and interactive properties. Producer services include budgets, schedules, project and human resource management, and facilitation of access to Saskatchewan/Canada labor tax credits. Production services include animation direction, 2D character and production design, storyboards, animatic, layout, key and in-between animation, clean up, BG paint. Flash production services include Flash animation, digital paint, effects, and interactive production.

Samara Melanson, executive producer/sales, C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures Inc., Toronto

C.O.R.E. is a full service animation and vfx studio founded in 1994 founded by Bob Munroe, John Mariella, Kyle Menzies and William Shatner. With three divisions: C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures (Visual F/X), C.O.R.E. Toons (animation for television) and C.O.R.E Feature Animation (CG animated features), C.O.R.E. continually garners accolades from both clients and colleagues as a world leader in the entertainment industry. We are currently working with Disney on a CG Animated Feature entitled The Wild, directed by Steve "Spaz" Williams.

Mike S. Fowler, owner, supervising artist, Fowler Cartooning Ink, Miramichi, New Brunswick and Elora, Ontario

Fowler Cartooning Ink is a small yet diverse animation production company able to create and assist employers with storyboard, layout, character design, 2D and Flash animation. It is also the publisher of the highly successful Animation Background Layout: From Student to Professional book.

Jason Ryan and Hugh Jackson, Partners, directors of animation, Man Gone Monkey Studios, Toronto

Man Gone Monkey Studios is a Toronto based animation boutique that brings a wide variation of styles and techniques to commercial animation and broadcast design. Man Gone Monkey Studios is working on two .30 spots: 1) Booster Juice: "Oasis" (Broadcaster Chum/ City TV, Toronto) Drawn cutouts style/Retro Design; and 2) Bic: "Be Incredibly Creative" (Broadcaster Chum/ City TV, Toronto) live action with rotoscoping and 2D drawn animation.

Colin Curwen, president/exec producer, New Machine Studios, Calgary, Alberta

New Machine Studios is an award-winning, independent entertainment company in Calgary, Alberta. We have been producing commercial animation and independent productions since 2003. In 2004 we developed and produced a U.S.-Canadian co-production of the award-winning television show, Raven Tales: How Raven Stole the Sun; the pilot for a continuing series which is in pre-production on six new episodes.

Kelly Neall, managing director, Ottawa International Animation Festival, Ottawa

We are North America's largest animation festival attracting over 1200 industry delegates. The Festival has been around since 1976 and showcases the best independent, T.V., Internet, student and feature animation from around the world. We are now an annual event running this year September 21-25. The Festival also features the Television Animation Conference, an event that provides a unique opportunity for producers to network, pitch and learn about new trends in the industry.

Greg Woronchak, Sore Thumb Illustration/Storyboard, Montreal

Freelance storyboard artist, always looking for work!

Blair Peters, partner, Studio B Productions, Vancouver, BC

Studio B is an award-winning animation studio that now has six original series airing in over 90 countries. These include YTV's most popular Canadian program and multiple Leo-award winner, Being Ian, the multiple Leo-award winning Yvon of the Yukon on YTV and BBC, Pulcinella award-winning What About Mimi? on TELETOON, Parents Choice winner D'Myna Leagues on CTV and YTV, and Australian co-productions Yakkity Yak a top rated show on Nicktoons. Studio B handles all aspects of animation (Flash & Traditional 2D Animation), from script to post all under one roof! In addition to a full slate of service work, the studio is in production on 26x 22 brand new episodes of Being Ian for YTV and 26 x 22 of Class of the Titans for TELETOON, both distributed by Nelvana.

Rob Balfour, president, Trapeze Animation Studio, Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Doodlez, our first show done in conjunction with Cellar Door Productions recently was picked up by Nickelodeon in the U.S. It is also carried in TELETOON in Canada, Cartoon Network in Japan and Latin America, and Comedy Channel in Australia. We expect to have European and South East Asian broadcasters on board shortly making it a truly global show. Current projects in production include: i) A new show for MTV Networks; ii) English for Vietnam, a television series produced for Vietnamese Television (VTV) backed by a group of large U.S. Corporations including General Electric and Western Union; and iii) We are one of 15 global studios selected to do an episode based on Habbo Hotel. In 2003 we delivered 10 episodes of a series ZAP Family to CBC.